At this year’s VIR Online Innovation Days, which in 2019 were once again hosted by ITB at Messe Berlin’s Marshall Haus, the focus was on topics of pressing concern. On day one ’Innovation’ was the dominant theme. With the rapid growth of competitors both at home and abroad, particularly in Asia, digital tourism companies are coming under pressure to quickly adapt.
Only a moment ago these topics were still being debated at events at the ITB Berlin Convention 2019. In order to ensure that the ongoing discussion on the challenges of overtourism, mobility, polluted oceans, climate change, biodiversity loss and cultural heritage is kept alive until ITB Berlin 2020, on 18 March the first Global Tourism Competition will kick off together with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Interview with Anthony Wong, Group Managing Director, Asian Overland Services Tours & Travel, AOS Conventions & Events, Frangipani Hotels & Resorts, Frangipani Natural Farms, Eco Green Design & Construction and Construction Wetland.
Anthony Wong is one of Malaysia’s pioneer inbound tour operators, working adventure tours from the 1970’s. We asked him how he got into the business.
“A rhino’s horn belongs to a rhino and no one else. What is there not to understand?” Speaking at the Botswana Forum at ITB Berlin 2017. Tshekedi Khama, Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism, never strayed from his main topic: Botswana’s efforts to promote nature conservation and eco-tourism. In Africa no other sector of the economy creates so many jobs as tourism. However, without big game the country’s national parks are not very attractive to tourists.
Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation Dr. Gerd Müller appealed to the tourism industry to actively address the lack of sustainable tourism. “This luxury sector must be capable of getting to grips with the issue,“ the CSU member said in a stirring keynote speech at the ITB Berlin Convention. Müller confronted his audience with three demands: Tourism had to conserve and protect while offering benefits, it had to ensure fair employment and it had to do more to protect the environment.
ExploRussia promises exceptional travel experiences off the beaten path. Customers experience destinations from a new perspective on private and customised tours in Russia. Local guides offer insider knowledge and share their passion for history and culture with the travellers. This year, sustainable packages complement existing tours. For example, a day trip to the historic town of Zaraysk may be added to the most popular tour of Moscow and St. Petersburg.
ITB Berlin 2017 coincides with an important political anniversary for Malaysia: the south east Asian country obtained its independence 60 years ago. To honour this occasion in a suitable fashion not only the Director of the Tourism Promotion Board, Datuk Seri Mirza Mohammad Taiyab, but also the Minister for Tourism and Culture, Dato Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, are attending ITB Berlin.
Costa Rica is becoming an increasingly popular holiday destination among Germans – a fact confirmed by the country’s tourist board, the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo. In 2016 Costa Rica reported 67,939 arrivals from Germany, 2.2 per cent more than the previous year. Now that new flight routes connecting Europe have been opened the aim is to ensure further growth in this source market. In 2016 arrivals from Europe numbered 434,884, an increase in visitors of 10.6 per cent. Tourists from the UK accounted for the largest share, followed by Germany, Spain, France and Switzerland.
“It is possible to have the best vacation of your life and at the same time help to make the world a better place – that is what lies at the heart of sustainable tourism”, explained Costas Christ, Editor in Chief of the National Geographic Traveler, at the presentation of the World Legacy Awards for sustainable tourism companies on Wednesday at ITB Berlin. Together with Dr. Taleb Rifai, Sectretary General of the UNWTO, Christ called for travel to be recognized as a human right.
Botswana, a country in southwest Africa and the partner country of this year’s ITB Berlin, has been described by Messe Berlin as ’Africa’s best-kept secret’. Indeed, the extent to which Botswana has adopted a pioneering role in nature conservation is not widely known. It is due to the sustainable management practised by the government and conservationists that wildlife abounds in this country.It is Botswana’s perfect investment in a future in which tourism plays an important part.
Focus on controversial issues surrounding eco-tourism, adventure travel and astro-tourism at the 12th Pow-Wow for trade visitors,which will take place at ITB Berlin 2017 at Adventure Travel & Responsible Tourism from 8 to 10 March in Hall 4.1b.
Focused business partners and interesting subjects
The German Tourism Association has always been a regular exhibitor at ITB. Today, no one really knows anymore whether we attended as an association when the show first began. Whatever the case, our members have always exhibited in large numbers, because German travel destinations attract the majority of tourists. That was so in 1961 and has remained so ever since. However, it is only as a result of recent widespread reporting that many now realise that Germans prefer to holiday in their home country.
Cities of culture and the country’s colourful history will be the focus of the ITB Berlin Convention
At the ITB Berlin Convention this green land will be showcasing its cultural and natural attractions to trade visitors at the world's leading travel trade show. On the stand of this small country, a member of the EU, at ITB Berlin 2017 the main theme will also be Slovenia’s ‘cities of culture’. In particular, Slovenia is promoting sustainable tourism and activities in nature. This year the capital Ljubljana received the European Green Capital Award.
An old military base in California, an island in the Caribbean and a piece of rain forest in Patagonia are among the winners of the first World Legacy Awards presented by ITB Berlin and National Geographic. The awards honour enterprises, organisations and destinations at the forefront of sustainable tourism. In the Earth Changers category it was presented to Orange County Resorts in India. In cooperation with local authorities this group has subscribed to sustainability principles and to educating people on how to avoid behaviour that is harmful to the environment.